Shinhan Financial Group, BS Financial Group, Industrial Bank of Korea and a consortium joined by private equity firm MBK Partners and some undisclosed financial firms have submitted their initial bids to acquire Woori Finance's two regional banking units.
Officials at the bidding parties were quoted by Reuters as saying that three bids were submitted for Kyongnam Bank and at least three bids were placed for Kwangju Bank.
Woori Finance is divesting 57% stakes in the two banks separately, although the sale is expected to provide $1.23bn to $1.7bn to the company, according to a news report by the Korea Economic Daily.
The government, which owns 56.97% stake in Woori Finance, is planning to divest regional banks, banking and brokerage units by the end of 2014.
With the latest proposal from the financial intuitions, the South Korean government has moved one-step closer to selling its stake in the country’s largest banking group by assets.
In October, local media reported that KB Financial Group and some other financial firms have submitted their initial bids to acquire Woori Finance Holdings’ brokerage business and five other divisions, including Woori Investment & Securities, Woori Asset Management, Woori Aviva Life Insurance, Woori FG Savings Bank, Woori F&I Co, and Woori Financial Co.
In order to recover more than $11bn of bailouts funds infused in the firm since the start of Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp (KDIC) is disposing the stakes as part of the government’s attempt to sell its entire holding in Woori Finance.
Established in 2001 after the integration of four troubled banks including Hanvit, Peace, Kwangju and Kyongnam following the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, Woori Finance provides an array of financial products and services to its customers in the country.
Image: Shinhan, IBK among final bidders for Woori’s regional bank units. Photo courtesy of adamr /FreeDigitalPhotos.net.